Sanctions on Iran block mosque from claiming religious tiles


MANASSAS, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia mosque is asking the Biden administration to launch a set of spiritual tiles that had been confiscated at Dulles Worldwide Airport after they had been deemed to violate sanctions on Iran.

At a information convention Tuesday on the Manassas Mosque, Imam Abolfazl Nahidian stated the custom-made tiles had been shipped in June from the Iranian metropolis of Qom, for use in building of a brand new mosque a number of miles away.

He stated the tiles had been a present and he paid no cash for them, however a Customs and Border Safety officer on the airport blocked the mosque from claiming the tiles, citing the sanctions.

Nahidian stated he has obtained different tile shipments all through the years with out incident, together with one cargo that arrived eight months in the past.

A letter from Customs and Border Safety knowledgeable the mosque that the tile have to be shipped again to Iran or destroyed.

Destroying the tiles, that are adorned with Quranic verses, could be particularly disturbing, Nahidian stated.

“Destroying the tiles is identical as destroying verses of the Quran, or the entire Quran itself,” he stated.

Nihad Awad, govt director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, stated that no matter one’s views are of the Iranian sanctions, it is senseless to implement the principles on a benign piece of spiritual artwork.

“They don’t seem to be weapons of mass destruction,” Awad stated. “We imagine the federal government ought to have frequent sense.”

A spokesperson for Customs and Border Safety confirmed that the tiles had been positioned on maintain June 21 and that on June 30, the Treasury Division’s Workplace of International Asset Management decided that, beneath the sanctions imposed on Iran, the tiles couldn’t be imported. The spokesperson stated no remaining dedication has been made on the tiles’ disposition.

The Treasury Division declined remark Tuesday.

Audio system at Tuesday’s information convention instructed that anti-Islam sentiment could also be liable for the confiscation.

“If this had been a statue of the Virgin Mary, would we be right here discussing this?” requested Rafi Uddin Ahmed, president of the Muslim Affiliation of Virginia.

Nahidian has led the mosque for practically three a long time, and has sometimes drawn scrutiny from critics who say he’s anti-Israel and was a supporter of the ayatollahs within the Iranian Revolution. He has blamed the Sept. 11 assault on Israel; in 1979, he and others chained themselves to the railings of the Statue of Liberty after climbing to the highest and unfurling banners criticizing the shah of Iran, who was overthrown.

Nahidian stated his historical past is irrelevant as to whether the tiles ought to be imported.


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